FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two days ago Mayor McFarlane invited several of us who live near Dunn and Falls of Neuse to view a new plan that Morgan Property Group has developed for that site. In addition to Morgan, a Publix representative was also present.
We wish we could share the drawing that they showed. But, unfortunately, they would not give us a copy or allow us to photograph it.
What we saw were plans to place 115 parking spaces in a parking garage under the Publix grocery store. The grocery store will remain the same size at 49,000 square feet. The additional 13,000 sq foot retail strip was divided into two buildings each 6500 square feet in size. And, the bank remains at 4100 sq feet. The total number of parking spaces actually increases and in a moment you will see why. In other words, they did not reduce the size of the shopping center at all.
With the space that they freed up by placing the parking spaces under the grocery store, they added 17 townhouses. Thus, the number of parking spaces goes up rather than down.
Yes, you read that correctly. They added townhouses and made the development BIGGER. Morgan and Publix argued that this results in a “sense of place”.
This site plan, like the previous site plan, also does not provide for 40% trees as required by UDO 9.1.9 for property in the watershed. They refused to address this concern.
The plan calls for a full access entrance on Whittington Road, a right in and a right out on Falls of Neuse, a right in and right out on Dunn, and the current full access entrance at the daycare center. Thus, three of the four entrances are on residential streets and the only full access on Dunn services a daycare center. Moreover, public officials have repeatedly stated that they do not desire an entrance on Falls of Neuse because it will impact traffic and safety on that road. Effectively the plan turns our residential streets and daycare center into a massive strip mall entrance and destroys the gateway to our neighborhood.
Honestly, we are in disbelief. They did not address any of the concerns about traffic, noise, light pollution, hours of operation, delivery trucks, garbage, vagrancy, etc. and have made matters worse by enlarging the proposal.
We did learn that delivery trucks will be coming from a distribution center in Atlanta. To leave the site they will turn right onto Falls of Neuse and travel to the Neuse river and make a u-turn at the turn around at the bridge The trucks will then proceed back down Falls of Neuse effectively DOUBLING the amount of truck traffic through our area.
Those in attendance expressed to Mayor McFarlane that this new plan is completely unacceptable.
We expressed that we fully support development according to the current zoning and that rezoning for this proposal will seriously harm our neighborhoods and this area near Falls Lake that the City has pledged in the Comprehensive Plan to protect.
Meanwhile we have learned from neighbors not far from us that there is a plan to develop another grocery store on the northeast corner of Six Forks and Strickland directly in the Falls watershed. Those plans call for a development virtually identical to what has been proposed at Dunn and Falls of Neuse complete with another 49,000 sq foot grocery store.